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Hamilton second-best in Melbourne as Ferrari draw first blood in 2017 season

Sebastian Vettel was victorious as Lewis Hamilton bemoaned the performance of his car throughout the race.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.
Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.
Image: Mark Thompson

FERRARI DREW FIRST blood in the 2017 Formula One season as Sebastian Vettel got the better of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton to win the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

Following a raft of regulation changes, Ferrari had been tipped to offer a stiff challenge to the team that had dominated the previous three campaigns.

And Vettel lived up to expectations at Albert Park on Sunday, keeping pace with pole-sitter Hamilton in the early laps before overhauling his rival when the Briton got stuck behind the Red Bull of Max Verstappen after pitting first.

After coming out of the pits just ahead of Verstappen and Hamilton, four-time world champion Vettel was barely troubled thereafter as he won in Australia for the second time.

Hamilton, who bemoaned the performance of his car throughout the race, ultimately came under threat from new team-mate Valtteri Bottas in the closing stages, but the Finn had to settle for third on his Mercedes debut.

Vettel’s team-mate, Kimi Raikkonen, claimed fourth ahead of the fast-finishing Verstappen, but home favourite Daniel Ricciardo endured a miserable day.

After receiving a grid penalty for a gearbox change, the Australian then broke down on the way to the grid and eventually started from the pits two laps down before later retiring with apparent engine failure.

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